Saturday, November 04, 2006

CT Awakes: Mind of the metronome

I had the good fortune of being at Mohali stadium for the 1st ICCCT semi final on the 1st of November. New Zealand were gasping for breath during that knockout spell from Lee and Mcgrath after the breather. Between his overs Glenn McGrath was guarding the boundary near our stand. In one of the overs Glenn produced an uncharacteristic ill-directed short ball that allowed the batsman to score a couple behind square leg. He bowled another guided missile to bring that over to a close.

On another day and in front of television, I would have to watch a couple of hastily aired ad spots in the break thereafter. This time I had the luxury of watching Glenn collect his cap from the umpire and amble back towards us, his fielding position, with that well-known shake of the head, grimace firmly in place on chiselled countenance. One look at him and a new entrant to the stadium would conclude that this bowler just went for more than 20. A wave of the hand replicated a pull shot and another shake of the head followed as he finally put on his cap.

Those two 'easy' runs conceded off the fifth ball were killing him. 'How could you bowl such rubbish?' - he seemed to rebuke himself as Lee got ready for another blast at the lower middle order of their arch rivals. This, in the midst of a MoM clinching effort of 10-2-22-3.

cricinfo reports on McGrath's progress since his return:

He said he has "put a little piece of the puzzle back together" in each game he has played since returning from a long lay-off to be with his sick wife. "It's feeling pretty good at the moment, and I was happy with [the semi-final]," he said. "There were a few little errors I can still improve, but it's looking pretty good. If I keep doing that, there's a few more games until the Ashes and I shouldn't be too far off 100%."

Therefore, while all his fast bowling peers are well into their 2nd and 3rd years of retirement, Glenn McGrath is getting it just right ahead of his last Ashes. Yet another batch of English batsmen visiting Down Under may be waking up in the middle of the night.

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